Poll on closing CTA budget gap: Should unions pay? More front-office job cuts? Small fare hike?

To balance the 2012 budget with no fare hikes or service cuts, the CTA is asking its unions for $160 million in “anticipated work rule reforms, health care benefit changes and restraint in wage growth consistent with other metropolitan transit agencies.” The union so far is balking at that. What do you think? Take the click poll here. If you have a different idea, tell us in comments.

poll by twiigs.com


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  • Since this is multiple choice, and choices 3 and 4 are basically assuming the $160 million and asking how to split it, I pass.

    Instead, some auditor who knows something about transit should go through the organization. If the CTA's cost structure is that out of line with the rest of the industry, the auditor can say and get us some real savings.

    Second, since the budget says that part of it is that CTA will not get the $83 million per year from the Quinn shell game to freeze fares, the fare increase should be in the range Rodriguez proposed, i.e. to the $3 base and $3.25 L and Express base level, with proportionate increases to passes, not just "less than 25 cents." In any event, it should be at least enough to make up the $83 million. Riders are going to have to consider whether that sort of increase (or at least on a par with the percentage Metra is requesting) is worth it compared to the alternative of having the system even more crammed.

    Mike Payne brought up the ostrich issue, and while I don't agree with how he applied it, Claypool sure ignored the issue of regional cooperation when directly asked by you. Find some savings by eliminating service overlap, at least with Pace, which claims it can run its system without a fare increase.

    My final comment is since most of the work rule complaints have to do with craft unions on the Rapid Transit, it isn't just going to take yelling at the 2 ATU locals to solve it. Claypool is smoking something if he thinks he can avoid arbitration this time.

    So, am I going to see those buttons?

  • I just love how Forrest Claypool picks the one or two bad things from each union contact, runs to the media, and makes it sound like every CTA union employee is getting these things. Just raise the fares and be done with it, nobody gives me a break on gas, city sticker, insurance, etc for my car. Do some research on private companies and what benefits they give their employees compared to what CTA employees get, you would be surprised on which is better.

  • Where did the money to pay for Block 37 come from, and is there any more there?

  • In reply to mikep621:

    That's a good question, since it was indicated that it was some combination of Mills Corp., TIF, and CTA money, but never in what proportions. The only thing that is clear is that over $300 million was poured into it without getting anything other than a shell of a tunnel, and it appeared that CTA money was used to "build out the shell" after Huberman said that they couldn't go any further with regard to putting tracks in it.

    Of course, TIF money is limited to the TIF area, Mills Co. went bankrupt, and Freed, the successor owner, had the property foreclosed by Bank of America, so those two sources are not otherwise available.

  • This is a bit off topic, but it does relate to money that will be needed over the next 50-75 years.
    The CTA is going to build a new Cermak station on the Green Line.
    If they don't spend the extra capital dollars to move one track over & build a single island platform, they will be saddling future operational budgets with the extra costs that a two platform station has: two elevators, extra lighting, doubled stairs & a myriad of other minor things that will add up & require far more maintenance than a single platform has. A single platform is also safer from a crime standpoint as there will be more people on that platform.
    The CTA has never gotten the idea that extra dollars spent out of the capital fund now can save money from the operating budget for decades ahead.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Has anything been said about this beyond that the proposed parking garage congestion tax would be used to pay for it?

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Why would they need to move a track over Scooter? What was once the center track was removed long ago (unless they want a much wider platform like at Roosevelt.)


  • In reply to mikep621:

    That's exactly it, you want a wider platform so you don't end up with old & outdated designs where the only entrance/exit is at one end. A center track has a clearance of maybe 10 feet, way too narrow for safe use today.

  • I think Claypool should be the first to take a pay cut. You know, set an example for the workers.

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